Gortat, Dragic continue to show well in Eurobasket “friendlies”

As Eurobasket 2013 approaches, the Suns continue to represent well in the exhibitions leading up to the event itself.

Marcin Gortat was the headliner over the weekend, putting up 20 points as Poland downed Belgium on Day 2 of the European Basketball Tour. Gortat’s outing is a great sign after returning state-side to have his foot examined. All signs, medically and now production-wise, point to good health, which can only be a good thing with Phoenix hoping Gortat can become the Polish Mentor for No. 5 overall pick Alex Len.

One of Gortat’s teammates may intrigue Suns fans. Maciej Lampe, who played for Phoenix in the 2004-05 season, scored 11 points on Sunday to finish second in scoring behind Gortat. Lampe currently plays for Spanish league powerhouse FC Barcelona when he’s not donning a Poland national jersey.

Meanwhile, Goran Dragic continues to provide leadership and consistency in close games for the Slovenian national team. A week after hitting the game-winning shot over Turkey, Dragic notched 11 points to help push Slovenia past Russia, 84-80. Former NBA talent Bostjan Nachbar led Slovenia with 18 points. Nachbar is teammates with Lampe on FC Barcelona.

Dragic’s Twitter feed is a good way to get the behind-the-scenes glimpses of his time overseas. Immensely proud of his involvement with the national team, Dragic frequently posts pictures and comments while traveling/practicing/playing.

Suns One On One: Gortat on His Foot Injury

Suns One On One host Greg Esposito talked with Suns center Marcin Gortat outside the Suns locker room Monday. The two talk about his right foot injury, the challenges of being almost seven feet tall and walking on crutches, his orange and purple cast and what the injury means. Hear all that and much more on this episode.

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Gortat Brings Lessons From Afghanistan to Camp

Players bring all sorts of things with them to training camp. From the normal like clothes, family and food to the more obscure like video game systems, special hair products and embarrassing backpacks. (OK, the latter is just for the rookies.) While in many ways Marcin Gortat is like any other athlete, there is one thing he brought with him that is unlike any of his teammates.

No, Gortat didn’t bring wild animals, exotic accoutrements or any other overly eccentric items with him to San Diego (at least none that we know of). What he brought was something of a less materialistic nature. He took with him to camp the memories of his summer trip to Afghanistan to visit with Polish troops stationed there and the impact it made on him. [Read more...]

Gortat Leads Poland in Qualifiers

(Courtesy of Poland Sport Online)

Luis Scola wasn’t the only Suns player representing his country this summer. Although Marcin Gortat wasn’t chasing an Olympic medal in London, the Suns center was leading Poland in his country’s attempt to qualify for FIBA EuroBasket 2013.

After six games, Marcin Gortat and the men’s national basketball team of Poland are 4-2. In Poland’s first outing, Gortat and Co. were upset 64-57 by the visiting Belgians, despite 23 points from the Suns standout.

In the second game of the qualifying tournament, Poland rebounded on the road by dealing Switzerland an 80-66 loss. Gortat led Poland’s attack with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Following its first victory, Poland then proceeded to drop an 81-79 decision to Finland, falling victim to two made free throws in the closing moments. Despite the “Polish Hammer” and his 13 points and 11 rebounds, Poland fell to 1-2 for the tournament.

After that shocking defeat, Poland responded by blowing out Albania, 105-67. Poland, which led 56-33 at halftime, moved to 2-2 before facing a 3-1 Belgian team on Friday.

With Poland in need of a win, Gortat erupted for 29 points and 10 rebounds as his country posted an 87-73 victory over host Belgium. Both teams moved to 3-2, sitting behind surprise Finland, which is a perfect 5-0 in Group E play.

On Sunday, Poland dominated Switzerland, roaring to a 117-67 victory at home. Gorat and Co. jumped out to a 32-16 lead at the end of the first period and never looked back from there.

Gortat racked up 31 points and 13 rebounds to lead his national team. Poland now sits at 4-2 for the tournament. Next up for Poland is Finland on Wednesday.


September 6, 2012

Gortat Dominates Against Finland

In what can only be described as one of the Marcin Gortat’s best performances for Poland, the Suns center erupted against Finland on Wednesday in a EuroBasket 2013 qualifying round game.

The 27 points and 21 rebounds he posted helped lead his squad to a 96-91 victory and a 5-2 record thus far in the tournament.
Poland needed every ounce of his effort as Finland hung nearby to make it a close game throughout.

But it wasn’t just that Gortat played hard, it was also that he was efficient over the course of the game. His 27 points came off of 11-of-15 shooting from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line.

He collected four rebounds on the offensive end, 17 on the defensive end and also contributed with three blocked shots.
The win served as a little bit of revenge for Gortat and the Poles, as they had lost to Finland earlier in the tournament.
Poland also moved a little closer to getting out of the qualifying round successfully, and will next take on Albania on Saturday.

Teams that advance will be eligible to participate in the FIBA Basket in 2013.

September 10, 2012

Gortat Became Poland’s EuroBasket Star

Just like last season with the Phoenix Suns, Poland could count on Marcin Gortat regularly for a double-double during the qualifying round of the 2013 FIBA EuroBasket.

The center averaged 21.1 and 11.6 rebounds for his country during eight group-round games, in which he helped lead Poland to a 6-2 record. The mark was good enough to win Group E.
The next round of the tournament will be set on Tuesday, but Gortat has helped secure a place in the tournament play for the Poles – which will begin this time next year.

In the final game of qualifiers on Saturday, Poland easily handled Albania 89-59. Again, it was Gortat who paced the team, as he tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds in just 26 minutes of play.
He continued to be extremely efficient on the offensive end, shooting 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line.

Thus far, the EuroBasket has been a chance for the big man to show just how his game is continually growing. He has undoubtedly been the main man for Poland, as evidenced by his points per game average being the fourth-best in the tournament.

Gortat is also the second-best rebounder thus far in the EuroBasket.
In the game just prior to this one against Albania, Gortat proved how important he has been to Poland – as he led the team throughout a tightly-contested game with Poland by scoring 27 points and recording a tournament-best 21 rebounds.
With his time overseas now complete, it will bear watching to see how the EuroBasket experience helped the center over the course of another NBA season.

Scola Goes Around the World to Find Home With Suns

When the season ended for Luis Scola his mind was 5,597 miles away from Phoenix, Arizona and for good reason. He had just wrapped up the year in Houston with the Rockets and was prepared for a journey that would lead him to London in August. With the 2012 Olympics right around the corner the forward was focused on getting to Spain to begin preparing for the Summer games with his Argentine teammates. What a difference two months makes.

On Tuesday Scola was in Spain with the Argentina National Team but his mind was in the desert southwest. The 6-foot-9 forward spent time after practice on a conference call with the local media discussing his new team. Despite the nine-hour time difference, he politely spent nearly 20 minutes answering all sorts of queries. Questions that came at him in two different languages (English and Spanish) and that ranged from whether or not he knew his time in Houston was coming to an end to how he expects his country to fare in London. Throughout the call one thing became quite clear, the Suns had acquired themselves a humble player who is ready to get to work. [Read more...]

Suns Inspired By Red Tails

(Courtesy of Lucas Films)

It’s not uncommon for Suns players to get together on the road and catch a movie. What is uncommon is that one of them may be personally connected to the film that they’re watching. [Read more...]

Top 5: Reasons To Be Optimistic About 2011-12 Suns


When the NBA started pushing their ‘Big Things Are Coming’ slogan it seemed like nothing more than a very creative marketing message from the new age Mad Men in New York. (Since Don Draper would be well into his 80’s by now I’m guessing he wasn’t involved in the creative on this one. That, and he’s a fictional character.)

That all changed when the Suns took the court for their home opener on Monday night. The slogan took on a whole new meaning as the Suns front court of Robin Lopez, Marcin Gortat and rookie Markieff Morris accounted for 41 of the team’s 84 points and 22 of their 45 rebounds. Despite a one point loss, big things were indeed coming, they just happened to be in the form of big men for the Suns. [Read more...]

First Impressions of the 2011-12 Suns

(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)

After four days of training camp, the Suns gave a sneak preview of their progress to the media and select season-ticket holders Wednesday in the cozy confines of the Grand Canyon University Arena. It was an intra-squad scrimmage, pitting one half of the team against the other half. [Read more...]

Gortat Uses Yoga to Improve Game

(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)

If you’re passing by the arena and you happen to see an intimidating, bald-headed 7-footer making swan-like movements, don’t be alarmed. It’s just Suns center Marcin Gortat partaking in some yoga. [Read more...]

Busy Month Means Big Things Are Coming For Suns

 

‘Tis the season.

In most years that phrase refers solely to the hustle and bustle that comes along with the holidays. This year is a little different than most. In 2011 the saying also applies quite well to the craziness and excitement that will be the Phoenix Suns’ truncated preseason.

Most of you will spend time over the next three weeks running around like Steve Nash on the fast break. While you’re putting together travel plans, buying gifts, decorating the house and figuring out who’s been naughty and nice in preparation of the big day (or days depending on your beliefs), your favorite NBA franchise will be running through their own gauntlet of planning and execution. [Read more...]